‘We’re blessed:’ Elizabethtown residents say ice storm not as bad as 2009

‘We’re blessed:’ Elizabethtown residents say ice storm not as bad as 2009
The weight from the ice caused power lines in the Elizabethtown, Ky. area to dangle or fall onto the streets.
The weight from the ice caused power lines in the Elizabethtown, Ky. area to dangle or fall onto the streets. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)
Elizabethtown accumulated at least half an inch of ice from the winter storm on Feb-10-11. The salt laid down didn't make much of an impact on side streets and some driveways.
Elizabethtown accumulated at least half an inch of ice from the winter storm on Feb-10-11. The salt laid down didn't make much of an impact on side streets and some driveways. (Source: Phylicia Ashley, WAVE 3 News)

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - Sean Tolliver spent his Thursday like man others in Elizabethtown throwing salt around his driveway and knocking slats of ice off his car in an attempt to thaw out from Wednesday night’s freeze.

“We expected it to be bad, you know,” Tolliver said. “I thought it was going to be a lot worse than it is, to be honest. I really thought we were going to be out of power. The last time we had an ice storm we were out of power.”

That storm, years ago, forced Tolliver and his family to stay in a hotel for five days. On Thursday, they were much more comfortable inside their home with the power on and the heater running.

“We’re just going to hang out at home and ride it out until it thaws out and we can get out,” Tolliver said.

Others around the city had a similar plan. Carmen Caldera-Brzoska’s front yard looked like a skating rink for most of Thursday. Her cars were wearing blankets of ice, but she she was grateful to have the power on inside her home.

“The last time we had a bad ice storm, [I heard] the cracking sounds and the transformers blowing and so I kind of knew what I was listening for and looking for,” Caldera-Brzoska said. “So, when I woke up this morning it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.”

Early Thursday morning, the winter weather made travel difficult for many in Hardin County.

Bryce Shumate, Hardin County’s Director of Emergency Management, told WAVE 3 News at the storm’s high point, nearly 1,100 customers were without power. But, by the afternoon, emergency crews were able to reconnect the power to almost everyone, all while salting and clearing the major thoroughfares.

“Ice storm is a four-letter word in Hardin County,” Shumate said. “And the reason I say that is if you look at the 2009 ice storm, and that was a tremendous event here and we’ve learned quite a bit since that event.”

That said, the slick conditions did cause a few problems. A semitruck overturned on I-65 Northbound, causing traffic to back up. Periodically, the weight from the ice cause power lines to dangle or fall onto the streets.

Despite the scattered problems, Elizabethtown Fire Chief Mark Malone said this week’s ice storm pales in comparison to the one in 2009, in part because emergency crews were more prepared and did not need to over-extend their resources.

“Electricity is a big deal when people lose it, especially in the 21st century where everything is electronic now,” Malone said. “So when we don’t have to deploy those resources, and we don’t have to tie up off-duty crews at community centers to help with people that are out of their house because they don’t have any heat, it’s fantastic.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Malone said emergency crews did not have to use backup generators or emergency shelters, because the power was still on to much of the city. Provided it stays that way, Elizabethtown residents are hoping the February freeze runs its course sooner as opposed to later.

“We’re just going to let the sun do its thing and stay put until then,” Caldera-Brzoska said.

'Near-Miss' -- Car spins out on icy highway right in front of WAVE 3 News crew

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